Source: Yahoo! News
Wire Service: AFP
On August 31, 2004 Agence France-Presse reported, "More than a dozen U.S. academics added their voices to the chorus calling on US authorities to reinstate a visa for the Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan. In a letter to U.S. Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) called on Ridge to authorise a work permit for the Swiss national... 'Although Dr. Ramadan has voiced criticism of some U.S. and Israeli policies in Palestine, the war in Iraq (news - web sites), and U.S. support for authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, such opinions constitute no reason to deny him a visa,' the Center's board of directors said in the letter. The Washington-based organisation brings together some of the foremost US scholars on Islam, including professors from Georgetown University in Washington and New York state's Cornell University, in the interests of promoting a better understanding of Islam and democracy. Their concerns were underscored by the American Association of University Professors, a Washington-based advocacy group for academic freedom, in a letter issued last week. In the letter to Ridge and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites), the association rebuked authorities for a decision that it said appeared to be at odds 'with our society's respect for academic freedom.'"